f4ba68c1cbedb0122ea82653afbd56f3b53077b88b4c4a5f31 Uncomplicated Healthy Living: June 2015 http://www.freesearchenginesubmission.infoher-libido.com

Monday, June 29, 2015

Vegetable Pita Sandwich

A vegetable sandwich may seem simple.  But, even something as simple as a sandwich can pack a nutritional punch.  Avocado gives you a dose of phytonutrients and heart healthy monosaturated fats.  Tomato gives you antioxidants, lycopene, vitamin A and C.  Sprouts give you calcium, vitamin K and C.  Protein come from cheese.  Which also gives you more calcium.  Not bad for "just a sandwich".  It also tastes great!  You have the creaminess of the avocado, the sweetness of the tomato with the tang of cheese and the spiciness of the sprouts.  All combined it is pleasing to the palate!

Vegetable Pita Sandwich

1 avocado
garlic powder
1 tomato
Colby Jack Cheese, shredded
Alfalfa sprouts
pita bread (I used gluten free, you use what is best for you)

Peel the avocado and put it in a bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and a small amount of garlic powder.  Mash it with a fork.  For each half of a pita; spread 1/4 of the avocado inside.  Add two to three slices of tomato (depending on the size) 1 ounce of shredded cheese and to with sprouts.

Eat up! Have a healthy, happy week everyone!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Black Eyed Peas & Zucchini - Southern Classics Lightened

Are these items the most healthy that you can eat? No.  However, every now and then you want a classic comfort dish.  In the south black eyed peas and fried zucchini are two of those.  Our challenge is to make them as healthy as we can.  Instead of fatback or a ham hock in the peas; I used bacon.  Using the right methods you lighten the dish significantly.  Fried Zucchini is all in the method as well.  Instead of deep frying it, I fried it with just a whisper of heart healthy oil and drained after that.  With some small adjustments you can enjoy these classics without feeling like you have failed in your healthy living goals.

Black Eyed Peas

1 pound fresh black eyed peas, cleaned
2 slices of bacon, diced
1/2 large onion sliced vertically
water, salt and pepper

Place peas in a pot with enough water to cover them.  Bring to boil and allow to boil 5 minutes.  Drain and rinse.  While the peas are boiling; place bacon in another pot (large enough to hold the peas) and fry till crisp.  Remove bacon and drain most of the fat off.  Place the onion in the pot with the bacon fat.  Saute until translucent.  Add drained and rinsed peas, as well as the bacon.  Stir to mix and add enough water to cover the peas.  Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer.  Allow to simmer for 40 to 45 minutes or until peas are tender.  Midway through cooking check seasoning; add salt and pepper to taste.

Zucchini - Fried

1 medium sized green or yellow zucchini, sliced 1/4" thick
Spelt flour (all purpose can be used)
milk (I used coconut milk.  You can use what you have on hand.)
organic cornmeal
salt and pepper
Coconut oil or safflower oil

You don't have to peal the zucchini.  As with most vegetables the majority of the nutrition is in the skin.  Place flour, milk and cornmeal in separate, shallow dishes.  Season the cornmeal with salt and pepper.  Dust each slice of zucchini with flour, then dunk in the milk, then dredge in the cornmeal.  Heat a nonstick frying pan or a well seasoned cast iron pan to medium high heat.  Add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Fry the zucchini till golden brown on both sides.  You only want tot turn the zucchini once.  The trick is finding just the right temperature to cook the zucchini through and have a golden brown color on the outside.  Drain fried zucchini on a paper towel.  

I served the peas and zucchini up with sliced tomato.  Remember if you have zucchini left over, save it.  It goes great on sandwiches the next day.

Enjoy all the fresh produce of the summer.  When you crave something from childhood that is not exactly healthy, find a way to lighten it without ruining the memory for you.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Beans - Why They Should Be Part Of Your Healthy Diet

What are beans?  They are also known as legumes.  All legumes grow in pods.  When you eat green beans or wax beans you are eating the pod before the beans develop.  So why should we eat beans?  Here are some reasons.

  • They are one of the most nutritious foods we have:  Among vegetables nothing else has as much fiber and protein.  Then you throw in the vitamins and nutrients and they become one of the best foods you can find.  they are a significant source of protein for vegetarians.  On average a 1/2 cup serving has 8 grams of protein.
  • The Best In Class:  For fiber navy beans are best.  You are able to get one third of your daily needed fiber in a single serving.  For iron soybeans are best.  They have twice as much iron and protein than other beans.  Best for folate are lintels.  They have almost half the folate you need daily in one serving.
  • Peanuts are beans:  Their pod is hard and they only have one or two beans in a pod.  But, they are definitely beans not nuts.
  • Cost per serving:  Every time someone says:  "It is to expensive to eat healthy"; point to beans.  The average size bag of dried beans has 15 servings.  Compare the cost of that one bag of beans to the cost of a Big Mac Meal from McDonald's then decide which is more expensive.  Not only do you have to figure the cost of the McDonald's meal, but also the cost of the extra visits to the doctor that goes along with bad nutrition.
  • You don't have to be a chef to cook beans:  Easy to prepare.  Soak them in water overnight.  Drain and rinse.  Put them in more water or stock and simmer till soft.  Can you boil water?  You can cook beans.
  • Not all beans take hours to cook:  Lintels cook in less time than other beans.  French lintels (or petite lintels)  cook in 15 minutes.  Regular brown lintels cook in 30 to 40 minutes.  You can cook brown rice in the same amount of time.   By combining the two you can have a complete one pot meal.
  • The cooking liquid is an ingredient:  If you are cooking beans to put in something else, don't throw out the cooking liquid.  It may not be pretty to look at, but flavor wise it pack a punch.  If a recipe calls for chicken stock you can use your bean cooking liquid instead.  Pour the liquid in an ice cube tray and freeze it.  Remove the cubes from the tray and place in a freezer bag.  You will have it one hand for future use.
  • Beans are almost indestructible:  Stored in an airtight container, beans can keep for several years.  Archaeologists have dug up beans that are still edible (so much for the paleo diet).  So don't worry about using the ones that you forgot about.  You aren't going to get sick by eating them.  You will just have to cook them slightly longer.
Note:  Soybeans, while nutritious, are a main source of GMOs in the US.  Look for organic soybeans.  If they are grown organic then they are also using organic seed not genetically modified seed.
Have you found this interesting? Have you found it helpful?  Let me know.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Brown Rice Salad

Summer is the time for salads.  In this one there is a combination of brown rice and beans.  That combination contains all the amino acids that are needed to form what is called a "perfect protein".  Which make this combo. a healthy food to eat.  It also is a complete meal with complex carbs, protein and veggies.  Great to take to work for lunch or for a light supper.  Not is it only good for you, it also tastes great.  I served it in a green pepper half, but, you can serve it in a tomato half or just in a bowl.  However you serve it, you will enjoy this salad!

Brown Rice Salad

1 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 cup diced green onion, white and green parts
1 cup diced celery
1 cup sweet green peas, blanched, rinsed and drained
1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
3 eggs, hard boiled and diced
2 tbsp. diced pimento
1 recipe of Roasted Garlic Sauce

Cook rice according to package direction and chill.  Add the next six ingredients and mix together.  Add Roasted Garlic Sauce and mix to coat the salad.  Serve it as you wish and enjoy!

Note:  If you don't want to use the Roasted Garlic Sauce you can use 1/2 cup olive oil mayonnaise.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Honey Vanilla Custard Sauce

The summer gives us beautiful fruit.  Honey Vanilla Custard Sauce is something you can keep on hand to go with berries, cherries, peaches, nectarines or whatever other fruit you want.  You can also pour this into an ice cream freezer and have frozen Honey Vanilla Custard.  Take advantage of the bounty of summer and enjoy the sweet treats it gives us!

Honey Vanilla Custard Sauce

1 3/4 cups milk (any kind you choose)
1/3 cup mild local honey (dark honey will discolor the sauce)
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla

Place the milk in a sauce pan over low heat.  Heat till scalded, stirring occasionally to keep from burning,  or until small bubbles begin to form around the edges.  While milk is heating, place egg yolks and honey in a bowl and whisk till thick and lemon colored.  Pour hot milk over the egg yolks, whisking the entire time.  Pour the mixture back in the sauce pan and heat until thickened and it coats the spoon.  It should coat the spoon well enough that you can run you finger through it and leave a path.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Place in the refrigerator and cool completely.  Serve it up with fruit or freeze it your choice.  Just eat up and enjoy!

Note:  Different types of milk have different chemical reactions.  Some will have better consistency and thickness than others.  Experiment to find what works best for you.  Also you may need to strain the sauce to get it as smooth as you would like.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Roasted Garlic Sauce

This sauce is a tasty accompaniment to new potatoes.  You can dip them in the sauce like I do or you can toss the potatoes with the sauce to coat them.  I am sure you can find a multitude of other ways to use it as well.  Don't limit yourself in the ways to use this.  

Roasted Garlic Sauce

1 head of garlic
olive oil
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
2 tbsp. minced fresh herbs ( I used flat leaf parsley and chives)

Remove the papery outer layers of the head of garlic.  Cut off enough of the top to expose a small amount of the cloves.  Place on a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil.  If you want you can sprinkle it with some Italian seasoning.  Wrap it up tightly and place it in a 400 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until fragrant and soft.  

Remove two of the cloves (save the others for another use)  and place them in a small bowl.  Sprinkle them with salt and mash with a fork.  The salt helps the garlic to mash smoothly.  Whisk in the greek yogurt and herbs.

Sauce up whatever you would like!

Here is and idea for the rest of the roasted garlic:  Remove the cloves from the skin.  Mash them in a bowl with salt.  Cook 6 ounces of pasta (angel hair or spaghetti work best for this) reserving 1/4 cup cooking water when you drain it.  While you are draining the pasta add olive oil to the bottom of the pot and heat slightly.  Add the mashed garlic and cooking water.  Stir together and add the pasta and toss till the pasta is coated with the garlic.  Yum!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Vidalia Onion Savory Custard

Vidalia onions are sweet, mild and give this savory custard a wonderful flavor.  They aren't around all year so I use them while they are available.  This custard has plenty of protein to make it the star of your meal.  I pared it with a salad that had romaine, purple cabbage, carrots and tomatoes.  That gave me the entire color spectrum on my plate. 

Vidalia Onion Savory Custard

2 cups diced vidalia onion
1 tbsp. coconut oil 
8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. tabasco sauce

Melt the coconut oil over low heat in a frying pan.  Add the onions and sweat them until soft.  About 5 minutes.  In aaa bowl, beat the cream cheese and egg together until smooth.  Beat in the milk, salt and tabasco.  Mix in the softened onions.  Pour into a oiled casserole and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until set.

Make this custard your main dish or use it as a side dish.  It is up to you.  Just eat up and enjoy!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Garbanzo Bean Corn Cakes

In the south they are garbanzo beans.  In the north they are chick peas.  What ever you what to call them, they keep these patties moist and tasty.  They are also packed with healthy complex carbohydrates and protein, making them a staple in my pantry.  You can use fresh corn, frozen, or if you have some left over from grilling, you can use it as well.  They are a simple, easy to make vegetarian recipe that can be kept on hand for weeknights.

Garbanzo Bean Corn Cakes

1 1/2 cups corn kernels (about three ears, if frozen thaw)
1 cup diced onion
1 Tbsp. fresh minced fresh thyme
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup bread crumbs (type of bread is your choice)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
organic cornmeal

Coat the bottom of a frying pan with olive oil.  Heat and add onion, corn and thyme.  Saute until onion is soft and corn is heated through.  Place corn and the rest of the ingredients, omitting the cornmeal, in a food processor.  Pulse two or three times or until thoroughly mixed.  You still want it to have some texture and be able to identify the ingredients.  Divide the mixture into four equal portions and form them into 1/2 inch thick patties.  Coat the patties in cornmeal.  Coat a frying pan with olive oil and heat to medium.  Cook the patties for approximately 5 minutes each side or until browned and cooked through.  Serve them with your favorite salsa, freshly made, or purchased.

I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Complex Carbohydrates - Are They Evil or Good?

I wanted to talk to you about complex carbohydrates before now.  Our internet has been down for a couple of days.  All the rain that went over Oklahoma and Texas moved over Arkansas as well.  As a result we have had a few problems here.  However, now I get to talk about carbohydrates.  

It seems we have a hard time finding balance.  Some people live on simple carbohydrates and nothing else.  Some people make it their goal never to put a carbohydrate in their mouth.  Both extremes are detrimental to our health.  You have heard, knowledge is power.  Knowledge of carbohydrates gives us the power to make good choices about what we eat.

Simple carbohydrates such as sugar, corn syrup, molasses spike our blood sugar levels.  This can deliver a quick boost of energy, but, that will not last.  You will crash a short time later and you have not received any nutritional benefits from what you put in your mouth.  Does that mean you will never eat them?  Probably not, I eat them from time to time.  They are not something to be eaten daily if you want to stay healthy.

Complex carbohydrates are a source of sustained energy and will not spike your blood sugar levels.  They also supply vitamins, minerals and fiber.  They are a significant source of folate, carotenoids, chromium, magnesium and can lower your risk of heart disease and several types of cancer.

What are our sources of complex carbohydrates?  Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains.  You can make some simple changes and gain lasting health benefits by keeping a couple of things in mind.

Let your food be as natural as possible.  Keeping the food in a form as close to what nature delivered to us can ensure we are getting the most nutritional benefits from it.  Processing strips food of its nutritional benefits.

Keep it fresh.  Most frozen veggies and fruit are cleaned and frozen within hours of picking.  So don't be afraid of using them.  The longer veggies and fruit sit  the more nutrients they loose.  When shopping at a farmers market, ask when the produce was picked.  In a grocery store don't be afraid to question how long produce has been sitting.

Understand grain terms.  When a package says 100% whole wheat that doesn't whole grain.  It means they have produced the product with using only wheat flour.  If you read the ingredients you will likely find the term "caramel color".  This is food coloring added to make it look whole grain.  Look for the whole grain symbol.  Also, look for the grains themselves.  The larger the grain pieces the more they reduce the risk of heart disease.

Understand how many servings of carbohydrates there are in a serving of food.  One serving of carbohydrates is 15 grams.  One serving of food can have multiple servings of carbs.  Nutritionist say we need the minimum of six and the maximum of eleven serving of carbs a day to maintain good health.

So, are complex carbohydrates evil or good?  They are definitely good.  Keeping a balanced view of them can add to our health and longevity.  Good health to you!

Has this information been helpful?  Let me know.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Spinach and Mushroom Frittata

Eggs are an excellent source of protein.  With this Spinach and Mushroom Frittata they are paired with an excellent source of nutrients.  Plus it tastes delicious.  I don't associate foods with a certain time of day.  Want soup for breakfast?  Eggs for supper?  Go for it!  So I made this for Sunday night supper.  I made oven roasted potatoes and onions to go with it.  If you want to know how I made the potatoes you can go to my February 20, 2015 post.  

Spinach and Mushroom Frittata

6 eggs
1/2 cup milk (you can use almond or coconut milk if you want)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded or finely diced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and coarsely chopped
1 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

Whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper.  Set aside.  In a well seasoned, 9", iron frying pan or a non stick frying pan, heat the oil.  Add the onion and garlic, saute for two minutes or till onion becomes translucent.  Add mushrooms and continue to saute till mushrooms are soft.  Add spinach and mix together as the spinach heats through.  Season the spinach and mushrooms to taste.  Make sure your burner is on a lower setting and sprinkle the swiss cheese over top of the spinach.  Carefully pour the eggs evenly over everything in the pan.  Allow to sit on the burner until partially set.  Place in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or until completely set.  Remove and let rest for two or three minutes.  Then eat up!

You can serve this with salad or as part of a brunch menu.  It is a great meatless dinner or weekend breakfast.  Whenever you make it, it in the kitchen and have fun!